The Best Devils

March 1, 2017

The Devil, no matter what you call Him or believe about Him, has been an ever-present force in popular culture. Sometimes hero, sometimes villain, and sometimes just there, He is one that everyone knows and recognizes almost immediately.

While one of the more famous antagonists in one of the most famous books of all time, many other forms of literature and storytelling include the dark one as well. Movies and television, for instance, are one of the most accessible mediums to deliver depictions of the great antagonist, and some of the most recognizable.

The following list contains some of my favorites, but by no means is the most definitive.

Little Nicky (2000) – Harvey Keitel

Actually not an antagonist, but a loving, caring father who wanted the best for his kids. Little Nicky, played by Adam Sandler, was his son, who had an important job and was cheered on by his dad down in Hell. Also one of the best portrayals of what happened to Hitler after he died, and one we all hope is true.

End of Days (1999) – Gabriel Byrne

Definitely overdone in the pompous way that Byrne is famous for, this man truly made you feel like he was ushering in the apocalypse. One of the more interesting foils for our hero, wonderfully portrayed in the overdone style that Arnold Schwarznegger does so well, this was the popcorn flick we needed in times of turmoil and stress brought upon by the new millennium, and Byrne portrayed the villain we so desperately wanted to see vanquished.

Prince of Darkness (1987) – A swirling mass inside a container

Does anyone remember this forgotten gem from John Carpenter? A movie you truly have to pay attention to every detail to fully understand, it’s rather psychological and leaves you with a really…creepy feeling. There’s the Devil, but also an Anti-Christ and an Anti-Anti-Christ…yeah.

Reaper (2007) – Ray Wise

I feel like if the Devil truly does exist the way the Bible says, this would be the most accurate portrayal. Ray Wise, always awesome in anything he does, brought a wry sense of humor and realism to his character. It’s such a shame that this show only lasted for two short seasons, but I have a feeling that it would have gotten old pretty quickly if it continued for much longer. Still, this cemented Ray Wise in my mind as one of the greatest actors of our time, and provided a lot more fun to this comedy that teetered on the edge of meh.

Constantine (2005) – Peter Stormare

Okay, so this movie wasn’t the greatest. In fact, John Constantine, one of my favorite characters of all time, was not even remotely done justice. However, the surprise appearance of the Devil Himself at the end gave it a ray of light that made me smile. Peter Stormare, one of the greatest character actors we have, brought such a matter-of-factness and passion to the Devil that you just couldn’t help but want to have a beer with the guy. Full of jokes and buddy-buddy attitude, no one but Peter could pull this off. Worth watching the movie just for this, but you could also skip ahead to his scene.

Supernatural (2007) – Mark Pellegrino

Over the years on the 28 seasons of Supernatural (yes, I know there’s only been 12 with a 13th coming), many people have portrayed Lucifer Himself. Rick Springfield worked hard for the weekend, but didn’t do as good a job as the Devil as Mark did. You may remember Mark from Lost as Jacob, or Dexter as Rita’s ex-husband Paul, but in my opinion his shining moment was on Supernatural. He had a subtle smoothness to him, a sense of urgency that shined through his gritty exterior. The kind of guy that you could envision being possessed by the Devil, and if you knew it, and would totally believe it.

The Prophecy (1995) – Viggo Mortensen

Yep, it was Aragorn himself in this one. A chilling, cerebral haunter in a graveyard, he talked, and you listened. He played a bit of an anti-hero, actually preventing someone from doing something really bad. This movie is beyond a cult classic, and if you haven’t seen it before, why not? Every performance is awesome in this, but when the Devil shows up, you’ll know it, and won’t forget it.

Futurama (2000) – The robot Devil!

How can you not love this guy? Played up for laughs more than anything, some of the best plots came about because of him. Still, some diabolical antics arise and no matter how much you love him or hate him, you realize that yep, this is still the Devil.

So that’s my list. What do you think? Let me know in the comments—which depictions of the Devil do you like best?

And if you’re interested in reading an interesting take on Lucifer, check out my new book, In the Pale Moonlight, available now!

Smashwords

Amazon